Return to a Slower Pace

Set up the laptop on the dining room table – check.  Plug the power supply into the wall outlet – check.  Plug the low-voltage power cord into the laptop – check.  Turn the laptop on – check.  All the bells and whistles start ringing, dinging, and buzzing – check.

So far, it’s just a normal day’s routine attempt to go on-line and access the Internet.

I’m using a new laptop this time around, so there will be some additional one-time steps to access my secure in-home network.

Let’s see, now.  Check for WiFi networks – check.  Find the in-home network and click on the “Connect” button – check.  Enter in the secret password (known only to the very select few network users), check the box for “automatic connect” and click “Enter” button – check.  Watch the lights and listen to additional bells and whistles – check.

Philippine Internet
Philippine Internet

All seems to be in tip-top form.  Every indication attests to the new laptop having full access to the in-home network.  Now, it’s time for business.

Double-click the desktop icon for browser and Internet access – check.  Browser opens – check.  I said, “check’!  Hey, yoohoo, computer, I double-clicked on the browser’s icon and the browser screen appeared on the display.  What the . . . .  Something isn’t right.  I never had any problems with this laptop while on vacation in the States.  Oh computer:  clicky-clicky.  Come on.  Why the . . . .

Well, forget the Internet browser for now.  Click on the desktop icon for my email application – check.  Whirr-whirrr, buzz-buzz, ding!  The laptop’s display is filled with the email application’s screen, complete with all emails – check.  Click on the “send/receive email” icon – check.  I said, “click on the ‘send/receive email’ icon, computer.  What the . . . .

Now I know it’s not the laptop’s fault.  Were that so, this would be a terrible coincidence – both browser and email application not moving after opening – pointing to possible corrupt software.  (Oh please, no!  Not that!)  Switch back to the Internet browser.  The display is filled with the home page screen.  Thank goodness – things are working.  I’m connected to the Internet!

Wait a minute.  I’m connected to the Internet, but at what speed?  Things are starting to make sense and reality is starting to sink in.  I’m back home using a slower Internet provider.  Back during vacation time, laptop operating was lightning fast.  Click an icon and “whammo!” you were transported to wherever it was you wanted to be.  Here at home, it’s a different story.  Click an icon, have a few sips of coffee, scratch that nagging itch, and finally you’re where you want to be.  No “whirring,” no “buzzing,” and certainly no “ding!”  Just simple, basic connectivity – no where near challenging the speed of light.

It’s good to be back home!

I should have realized there would be a lack of “lightning” quickness in my Internet access.  I should have realized that I was back home where the pace of things is much slower.  Most of all, I should have remembered the pace of life from the last twenty-four hours of experience:  passing through the bureaucracy at the airport.

The flight back to the Philippines was wonderful.  Neither baket ko (asawa ko) [my wife] or I had any complaints.  We decided to take things a little slower on our trip back and life cooperated to the fullest.  The first instance was the slow but determined walk from the airplane to the immigrations kiosks.  Standing in lines with hundreds of others, waiting to have our passports inspected and stamped, life was slower than slow.  Almost a dead standstill – the kind where the only movement occurs just as you’re ready to give up and try a different line.  Onward at a snail’s pace, tourist by tourist, one by one.

Finally, after what seemed like the half-life of cobalt, it was our turn.  We handed our passports and immigration forms over to the immigration’s agent, who did a remarkably detailed inspection of those documents.   Then, out came the stamp.  We asked for the one-year balikbayan entry to be entered into our passports, and we received the one-year stamps.  (It’s not a “special” or unique stamp – it’s the same stamp everyone else receives, but is annotated for a one year stay in the Philippines.)  The agent then handed our passports back to us and, with our “have a nice afternoon” farewell, left the kiosks for our next adventure – baggage claim.

Once again, time seemed to be ticking away with no activity occurring at our “baggage belt.”  It was taking a while for the baggage to make its way from the belly of the airplane to that baggage belt.  Then, with a couple of warning buzzes, the belt started up and the baggage began to dance its way to owners eagerly awaiting reunion with their belongings.  I was prepared to spend a good while waiting for our baggage, but surprise of surprises:  our bags were some of the first to come dancing down the belt.

Being among the first to receive their baggage, we were also among the first in line at the customs kiosks.  “Nothing to declare” were the words of the day.  Of course, our baggage was waved through.

Things were starting to pick up for us.  The eventual shuttle bus ride to another terminal was uneventful – outside of our being the only ones on the bus.  The follow-on check-in at the domestic terminal was at normal pace, as was the rest of the day’s travel.

Only thing – I should have remembered the slow times at the international terminal while I was firing up the laptop.  The pace of life is a little slower, indeed.  Now that I’ve replayed the day’s travel, I’m used to the pace and rather enjoying it.  Welcome home, Paul!

Post Author: PaulK (218 Posts)

Paul is a CPA and a retired tax accountant, having served companies and corporations of all sizes, as well as individuals, in public accounting practices. Prior to what he refers to as his "real job," he served a 24-year career in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a Master Chief Petty Officer. It was during this career that he met and married his OFW spouse of 35+ years, Emy, while stationed in London, UK. (Though he pleaded for the assignment, Paul never received orders to the Philippines.) A "Phil-phile" from an early age, Paul remembers his first introduction to the Philippines in the primary grades of a parochial elementary school where, one week each year, children donated their pennies to purchase school supplies, food and other necessities for Filipino children in need. That love for Filipinos continues to this day. Calling Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte--in the far northwestern part of Luzon--home (just about as far away from Davao as one can be while still being on one of the major islands) Paul prefers a more relaxed provincial life style, and willingly shares a different view of the Philippines from "up north"!

How to Move to the Philippines Manual


  1. Paul Thompson says

    Hello Paul;
    With your arrival home I now can say with a certain amount of accuracy that the rainy season has ended, the Keating family is back home once more. Welcome home Shipmate and now you can start to enjoy life once more.

    • says

      Hi Paul – Yes, rainy season is officially over. There will be, however, occassional sprinkles here and there to keep farmers happy and road dust to a minimum!

      The enjoyment started the moment my foot touched an airplane! 😆

  2. MindanaoBob says

    Welcome home, Paul! It seems that most of us who move here come looking for that slower pace of life.. unfortunately, the slow pace extends to our Internet connections too! 😆

    I hope you are happy to be home!

    • says

      Thanks, Bob – it’s great to be back home. Surrendering consistent 15+Mbps for slower, variable speeds is but a small price to pay for enjoying the slower pace in life. 😆

      Now, airline tickets on the other hand . . . . :(

  3. Gary says

    When I was in Davao City yesterday I saw a very large billboard telling of 10 Meg download speed. Never said a word about the price!!! I am happy with my internet speed. Most days it is the same as I had back in the USA. Somedays it is MUCH faster. The last time I checked I was getting 5.7 Meg download. Hard to beat that. Welcome back Paul.

    BTW – Google is starting up it’s internet service in Kansas City. $70.00 per month. You get 1 Gig download and upload speed. Wow that is fast. When will we get that speed here in the Philippines??

    • says

      Hi Gary – I’d bet that the only place you get 10 Meg download speed is right at that billboard. The trick is finding where to plug in as there’s no WiFi. 😆

      Don’t know what I’d do with 1 Gig download speeds, but I do know what I can do with $70 @ mo. 😉

    • says

      Hi Ron – I don’t know about that. It’s difficult to tell whether you’re talking about Kansas City, Kansas or Kansas City, Missouri. 😆

    • Loren Pogue says

      Guess I will have to trade happiness for SMBs. Living in Kansas City will never happen much to my non-regret.

  4. Allan Kelly says

    A quick question on the balikbayan stamp. In order to get one on your passport, did your wife enter the Philippines on a US passport or a Philippine passport? If US, did she have to show proof of citizenship?

    • says

      Hi Allan – In our case, my wife entered on a US passport and did not have to show proof of citizenship. That’s not to say there might be an immigration agent having a bad stamp day who may ask for something to prove anything. It just hasn’t happened in our travels through immigration over the years.

      The only “proof” that may be needed is a marriage license showing both of you and your wife are married to each other so that you, as the US spouse, can get the balikbayan privilege, too. I’ve yet to be asked to produce the marriage certificate, but we do carry a miniature copy with us!

      • Ricardo Sumilang says

        Paul, I carry both U.S. and Philippine passports, although I have yet to use my 7-year old Philippine passport. I understand that if I were to travel to the Philippines, I should use my Philippine passport upon entering the country, and the U.S. passport upon returning to the U.S. Is this good?

        • says

          Hi Ricardo – Remember that I am not an immigration specialist, so my words are only those of others who have expressed them to me. Other dual-citizens that I know do just what you say. They use their Philippine passport entering and USA passport leaving. Whether or not this practice is legal or preferred, I do not know.
          Maybe Mindanao Bob has some sage advice?

          • MindanaoBob says

            When entering the Philippines, the Philippine officials are happy to stamp both Passports if you present both to them. This is recommended, because it leaves a full travel record in your US passport, and US officials may be puzzled or at least curious if you don’t have the stamps in your US passport. If you get both stamped upon entry, you are entitled to full rights of a Philippine citizen while in the Philippines.

  5. PapaDuck says

    Glad to see your back in the PI and had a safe passage back. Will be on my way there tommorrow for a couple of weeks of the slower life. But unfortunately i have to come back and wait until 2014 to move there permanently. Have a nice day up north.

    • says

      Hi PD – It’s always a pleasure to enjoy the slower life. 2014 will be here before you know it (it will take a little longer here!)
      Up north has nothing but nice days – I’ll enjoy a couple for you! 😉

  6. Loren Pogue says

    Enjoy the life. If you would hurry back you could be in the USA just in time for the 3 month tax season rush and probably work 10 to 16 hrs a day. Or is that why you left at this time of year?

    • says

      Hi Loren – Our movement between the Philippines and the USA is weather-based. When it’s cool or cold in the USA, we’re here in the Phils. We go on vacation to the USA when it is their summertime and avoid that nasty cold weather.

      I do my tax season right here! Most of my clients are here and we interact via the internet. I can schedule work a lot easier and not be pressed to rush. 😉

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